Alan Dunlop's comments
It might be of interest, or maybe not.
Grafton Architects, with are among a group of exceptional Irish architects of international acclaim. Thoughtful, poetic, sensitive to context and passionate .
I was commissioned by The Irish Times to write about Irish architecture almost 20 years ago and compare it to Scotland.
Other buildings of interest include those of Shane O'Toole, Paul Keogh, Grafton Architects and Shay Cleary Architects. Their projects are small-scale but well defined. What is most satisfying about their buildings is that they do not sit in isolation but each contributes towards the success of the other. The scale, material and detail, is consistent and restrained. The buildings are contextual and Irish."
What's persuaded you then, a retired engineer still working in feet and inches with a obvious Johnson man crush? That'll do it. But not yet not convinced that a non conventional structure will not, not work? No kidding.
I know, I know........just one damn thing after another.
Sincere best wishes Malcolm and Robin, in all future endeavours.
Another gauge eh, Kevan Shaw?........Blimey who'd have thought it. 20 months of work down the tubes.
Laugh? Gordon Gibb. I nearly laid an egg As for it never being built, you could well be right. Like Kevan's startling revelation, that's taken me completely by surprise. A populist idea to buy votes, eh? Crumbs. I'll tell that now to the calls, messages, reporters and emails I've been answering all day.
Jim, my comments after the fire, were primarily on what should happen next and in trying to provoke a public debate on the future of the building, with a call to consider a competition for a new building and not to just replicate Mackintosh's original design which cannot be done.
It was not to discover who was to blame.
However, the revelations uncovered in the last few months, including the "row" between Tom Inns and Muriel Gray, and questions over his departure, but also the resignation of so many staff and now the the GSA finance director Alistair Milloy, with added questions over funding and insurances still to be fully answered I believe it is time for a full enquiry.
I've no doubt that the scheme is a deserved winner, but as you seem to know a good deal about the project, what then is concept that has driven the red glazed drum?
I'm genuinely interested particularly as the architect uses a similar red at the V+A and it seems to be splashed throughout their website; on graphics, headings, carpets, doors and furniture. Rather than a radical interpretation of the brief, It could be interpreted as corporate signposting and in the context of this setting, frankly, brusque.
What's that redical red glazed hall all about then?
"Keep calm and step away from the laptop" Louis Kahn
Some interesting projects from clearly talented students. Good luck to those shortlisted. Great to see also one or two hand drawings amongst the 60 or so submissions.
Frankly I can think of many, many more depressing developments, where no consideration at all has been given to the context, nor thought of the design. Moreover, far from being one of the crop of colourless hairshirt architects, Nicholls is one of a number of very talented young architects now working in Scotland and we'd like to keep him here.
Yes indeed, the black brick is subjective, I can tell you it looks much better in the flesh. The project has no doubt been value engineered to a centimetre of its life. Yet, the planning is clever and the amount of daylight getting into each flat is generous and well considered.
" Glasgow is a city of wee men an big windows": Jack Coia and Nicholls is to be congratulated for that.
As for the reference only to the city's great architects of the past, if you lift your head you'll see that other, more contemporary architects have also produced great city housing, Elder and Cannon, Page and Park, Henry McKeown, Ian Alexander are a few, there are more.
I'm confident Nicholls will do the same.
Extraordinary work. Design and Build too. Congratulations. Stirling contender.
Trenchant piece, Rory.
Very interesting project and clever, tight plan, but "one of the key ways to deliver cost-effective and space-efficient housing"?
Am I right in calculating that each of the three bed homes works out at 138m2 gross internal floor area? If so, it seems generous spatially.
Currently working on similar cost effective and space efficient housing, classified as "Affordable" in Scotland with a maximum gross internal floor area of 113m2 ( set by RICS ) for a four bed home. 25m2 less?
The computer lies.
Number, there is a disconnection between what is being taught and what is happening now in the profession, I agree. The reality is that it is in the schools, in the main, that the most interesting and forward looking work is being undertaken in architecture, not in practice.
I'm commenting as both a practitioner and teacher. With respect, I'm not sure of your background other than you appear to know little about teaching.
As architects what we offer is our expertise in critical analysis, lateral thinking, expert critique, client engagement, place making, knowledge of history and research techniques. As Sean Griffiths writes "the most innovative and rigorous technical thinking" These are the most important elements that are being taught and remain at the centre of the best schools.
As architects they are our expert skills, yet today in practice we give this expertise away for free.
I usually don't engage with commentators who choose to be nameless.
However, my graduates have all found jobs, a good number occupy senior positions in highly respected practices in the UK and abroad or are running their own offices. The reality is that it's the profession that needs a complete overhaul and must raise its game.
Promoting critical engagement in schools and encouraging open enquiry, social responsibility and experimentation in architectural education above all else does not create a vacuum, in fact in my experience, it produces young architects of real value to society, not office fodder for a profession losing esteem and being driven to the bottom by PQQ's for projects that the majority have no hope of winning; speculative work, acceptance of ridiculous contractor and developer demands and low fees which result in low pay, reduced employment prospects and talented graduates working as interns.
The profession must look to itself for reasons why architects are being marginalised, not the schools. As for competitions don't do it. People place little value on what they don't pay for.
Navel Gazing, really? Cheap shot in an otherwise well argued piece.
The course of architectural education has changed. The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake was once encouraged. Today, critical engagement, open enquiry and allowing graduates the freedom to think is being driven out by the profession’s apparent need to create office ready employees.
While it is important for students to learn basic office skills, the acquisition of administration and teaching project processes is the responsibility of the profession not the role of schools of architecture.
It is important that practices retain strong links with education and forge connections with students, however in my experience Master of Architecture graduates are bright and capable and learn quickly, so should still be able to leave university confident that they can secure a long career in architecture.
However, in order to respond to today's culture of low fees and low pay, there is pressure on schools, coming from the profession to make architecture graduates able to deliver professional skills right away and to ensure that more MArch teaching effort is diverted to administrate business, legal and client protocols.
I believe that my role as a professor of architecture is not to help you find a job. Instead, it is to teach you what it is to be an architect.
I have promoted free thinking and open enquiry and taught the importance of history, social responsibility and the importance of context and developed students as creative thinkers, who also have the expertise and knowledge required to make buildings of worth.
This approach I also believe has produced many young architects of real value to the profession, many are now successfully holding senior positions in international practices.
No, that's Dubai.
You're joking of course, that's really quite an extraordinary project. Congratulations Moxon, I'll look forward to visiting
Going by the images presented above, if that's all there is, the client, wealthy or not, had a justifiable case.
Mmmm...CGI can make anything look possible. Even a translucent glass box suspended without any visible means of support or fixings.
"the computer, which we all use, at some levels it is a tool, but it is not a design instrument." Glenn Murcutt
There will be a proper business case made. It is not a proposal for a community centre, nor some kind of arts school.
It would work Judith, I agree. From albatross, to dove to phoenix, very clever........ if you don't mind I'll use that in future.
Indeed Robert, it's secluded but not remote and certainly not inaccessible.
John Bute's intervention and his ambition to make the abandoned St Peter's Seminary a community building and a learning and manufacturing resource, to help stimulate economic and social regeneration in Argyll and Bute deserves support .
According to Design Week the design industry contributes £4.3b each year to the Scottish economy. Scottish and international artists, architects, industrial designers, graphic, textile and fashion designers, car and furniture designers could come together in Taigh Togail, in studios and residences to produce work of outstanding quality, bringing jobs, creating apprenticeships, working with manufacturers to make those works in a single place that has international acclaim in a stimulating and creative environment for the economic and cultural benefit of the people of Argyll and Bute and Scotland.
The building is made for it, with its extraordinary plan, genius structure and abundance of natural light. It would be an asset. St. Peters would and should be inclusive, creating work and opportunity for all. A dove carrying an olive branch, not an albatross
The Bauhaus "aimed to reunite fine art and functional design to create practical objects with the soul of artworks". Taigh Togail would do the same.
"tough character of the past, and hopefully this won't all be lost." Indeed.
In all my years going down to the river I've never seen the Clyde so blue, and inviting, it's like the Med. Is that a tree growing in the centre too? very clever. On the water, those high rig yachts with their de-mountable masts to get under the Clyde Arc and speedboats are all lovely. And look, the existing barriers that could hold back a herd of rampaging elephants and stop emergency vehicles and the occasional drunk slipping into the river have gone, replaced by a light balustrade. Love it
Well done ASL It says "Glasgow, eh..... wha's like us?" all right you've captured everything that makes the Clyde and the city's maritime history important and unique in one single image.
Good luck with it.
in my own MArch units, young women have often been the most talented and creative students.
Why many women are not running major practices or making a more significant contribution to the profession is, consequently, disturbing.
Architecture has always been driven by an exhausting and unnecessary devotion to work. This starts at university where you are given credit for the amount of time you are prepared to put in above all else. In practice, this culture continues and it is expected that you work long hours, much of which are unpaid.
It may be that young women have other priorities and there is a woeful lack of financial support and adequate childcare provision, particularly for women who want to break this burden of expectation and have children.
That a very low percentage of women become head of school or take up senior positions is also disturbing.
I asked one of my students in Liverpool a very talented young woman why there seems to be a limited number of women leading practices and universities, she wrote this:
"Architecture is 'sold' as a 7 year course and aged 18, this is long but maybe not too long to deter us, thinking it will all be done age 25. Then we get into the course, which has its own issues with a culture of long hours and mentally draining, and realise we most probably will not be fully qualified Architects anytime soon.
For my male colleagues this is maybe not so worrying, but for myself and female friends it is a worry that our career choice pushes back other considerations, notably having children. The lack of flexibility in the structure of qualifying and a general lack of flexibility in practice until you are in a more senior role, compounded by the fact that many remain a Part 1 in practice for 2 years and a Part 2 in practice for around 3 means we are not qualifying until our late 20s and not reaching a place in our career to consider a family until later. Data shows women in architecture are leaving it later than the national average to have children, 32 compared to the national average of 28. I am sure wanting to be secure in your position in practice is a key factor for this later age -
I cannot think of any cases of Part IIs having children and staying on in practice.
A factor mentioned in the Ethel Day article cites gender discrimination. I have not experienced this myself particularly, in my Part I there were a couple characters in the office that I would say were very close to the line, generally the older male architects, but I am glad to say this was never a probably throughout university.
Neither have I heard stories from friends at Liverpool. I would note that there is sometimes a tendency for tutors to assume female students will be more sensitive, or a joke made in a crit to that fact."
Congratulations Patrick, a pretty remarkable resolution for a challenging site. Very clever plan. Good luck with it.
I remember that RIBAJ eye line drawing. Beautiful work
Notwithstanding, of course there are serious concerns over the quality and long term durability of a significant number of projects delivered by PPP and so called not for profit contracts.
The same apparently is true in the UK, which runs contrary to the community becoming the focus, or than PPP can ever improve social, economic, building, design or procurement standards.
Profit and bottom line economics is the driver not community, nor social benefit.
PFI has been discredited, Philip Hammond said as much in October. Trouble is, how will new schools and hospitals in the UK be built without PFI/ Private Public Partnerships?
In Scotland, The Scottish Nationalists introduced the Scottish Futures Trust SFT, ten or so years ago as a " not for profit" way to replace PFI. The performance of 45 projects delivered under SFT is yet to be audited, by Audit Scotland, however the estimated £3bn ( FOI information requests regarding build costs is always dismissed due to commercial confidentiality )it has cost to build hospitals, schools, leisure centres, police stations etc is anticipated to cost Scottish Taxpayers around £10bn over 30 years.
Very good project indeed. Well done.
It does appear a touch " spartan" and perhaps a little lacking in comfort. But that's wabi-sabi for you, apparently.
Collective: AJ Architect of the Year. Also, Barmulloch Residents Centre Public Building of the Year. Brilliant for Collective and for Glasgow. Some good news, at last. Well done.
Clever plan and section, though.
On the face of it and HES regulations aside it would seem a sensible thing to do, given the site compound was restricted and any site operations set up on Renfrew Street would cause additional problems accessing the Reid Building and to general traffic.
Much like the sprinklers and use of existing duct work to carry services, these might have seemed like sensible decisions at the time, which would have to be agreed and confirmed, now in retrospect and without the apparent "rigorous" fire safety regime in place they appear like major flaws site operations.
From the start also I have said the "insurance will pay for any rebuild" story from Muriel Gray is questionable and now seems very suspect indeed: Extract from report to CTEEA:
" 2. There are questions about the causes of the loss and about liability and culpability answers to these are outstanding and reliant upon specialised investigation and reporting. At present, the evidence is unclear.
Much has been made of the art school’s contention that the insurers will pay. The Guardian also reported Muriel Gray estimating that the project would take 4 to 7 years and cost around £100m, to be made up by insurance cover and a major private fundraising drive. Let
us hope that this is so. However, at this point there is absolutely no surety, and until a full investigation as to the causes of the fire has been undertaken, it is unlikely that any insurer will make such a generous settlement. As in all insurance contracts there will be matters of liability and accountability to be established.
My own view is that there will be an inevitable call on the public purse."
Ach Jay, really? There's a populist feeling growning now in Dundee that the 30 minutes spent in the V+A you will never get back ( The Times). I would not go that far, the 30 minutes I spent in the Scottish Gallery was interesting, but there is no need now to go back.
As for the building, after I found the "cave like" entrance, ( the natural position of the entrance would be through the "arch" ) the other 20 minutes was spent wondering what those timber post it notes were doing stuck to the wall, then trying to find a view to the Tay from one of those curious and apparently random slot windows, then also trying to get a view to the river from a place other than the restaurant. The deck was closed, although it was a beautiful day. The view from the city, over the River Tay and across to Fife is one of the best in Scotland.
The whole interior sucks the life out of you, Like Kahn, you feel you need a coffee as soon as you walk through the cave like "front" door, on to the ocean of black marble and then to be presented with the four storey staircase you have to walk up to get to the galleries. Luckily the whole ground floor is taken up by the cafe but the queue was too long, obviously other visitors felt the same.
Dundee's living room, aye, that'll be right. I left wondering whether it would be worthwhile taking the 10 hour boat trip to Noup Head in Orkney to see the sea cliffs, that inspired the architect, and the sand stone strata, beloved of seabirds, mimicked here in the building. Then thought better of it.
Pursuit of personal agendas, Robert?
"Mackintosh art school ‘should not be rebuilt by pedantic architects’
Computers should take charge of the rebuilding of Glasgow School of Art rather than pedantic architects, according to the biographer of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Roger Billcliffe.
“The computer will make the drawings to make the building again,” he said. “It may be a good thing that the computer is doing it — it won’t be tempted to put in the twiddly bits that architects might add, ‘improving’ on Mackintosh.”
"It's not a blame game, I'm not saying they should go to prison" "I don't want to send them to prison but I want to make sure they don't operate in a system where they co do it again" Roger Billcliffe CTEEA Committee.
If you read no other report, read this.
Written Submission to the Scottish Parliament CTEEA Committee by The Sauchiehall Street Inner Cordon Businesses and Garnethill Displaced Residents Group re the Mackintosh Building.
The rebuilding of Warsaw and Dresden particularly, Robert was a necessary act, essential to rebuild morale of the nations and people affected by World War 2.
Fundamentally different from the call to replicate Mackintosh's School of Art, which has been and continues to driven by high emotion, provoked by the aftermath of the second fire in four years, this one devastating, and the destruction of the building.
While Glasgow's failure to protect its fine historic heritage is lamentable it is not justification enough to dismiss other points of view, nor reject the idea that there could be an alternative to rebuilding brick by brick that could include a new building.
Moreover, a review on Mackintosh's plans ( easily downloaded from GSA archives) will confirm that it cannot be replicated to his original 1898 and 1909 design.
I think you'll find that very very small minority is now growing, Chris. So we'll see.
Ach, thank you too "Robin".
Thank you MJ. In both cases I was asked my opinion and to consider a way forward by various national newspapers and the BBC, Sky and so on. I gave it honestly. As far as the Mac, particularly is concerned it has left me open to anonymous "shut up" comments, like your own and from other keyboard warriors. Frankly however, I'll keep going.
The future of Mackintosh's GSA is worthy of a national debate, part of that debate should include the consideration of a new building, not only a brick by brick replication. I've put I believe a strong case to the Scottish Parliament Committee. Perhaps you should do the same? It's a democracy after all, where all views should be considered, no matter how disagreeable they may be to some.
All the very best to you.
Congratulations Yousuf Khalil looks like remarkable undergraduate work. Very impressive.
It is a striking building and Jay Merrick does his best to pump it up but really..... Kuma apparently " cannot countenance the idea of self-consciously monumental architecture." however the " the £80 million building’s appliquéd non-structural façades of gapped, end-on horizontal concrete planks" is somehow appropriate.
Although there are cliffs on Scotland's east coast, at North Berwick, Dunnottar Castle and Banff the landscape and coastline particularly in Fife and around Dundee is flat, the "grain" runs vertically, not horizontally and the cliff edge angles back from the water.
Consequently the sea cliff allegory is spurious. But like Holl's "homage to Mackintosh" Miralles, "upturned boats" and Hadid's " it's about the river" Kuma is a player, so " a picture of the cliffs of north-eastern Scotland." would be enough as a convincing narrative.
Once the pr hullabalo dies down, I hope we can then get a considered critique.
Why? There is a prestige and cachet in having a major public building designed by an international architect name. Which is fair enough, I guess but in Scotland it's never, frankly their best work. Glasgow has a Hadid, Foster, Holl and Chipperfield. Edinburgh Miralles and now Dundee has Kuma. Aberdeen's Diller Scofidio plans were scuppered.
The irony is that the V+A Dundee showcases the best of Scottish design, in everything but architecture. Scots architects will make it to the shortlist for these major projects but rarely if ever succeed in securing the project, despite often producing the most considered, contextual and responsive work.
Despite their early setbacks, the variety hopefuls played the Glasgow Empire, with the bright and peppy act. Starting with a flourish as Phil dashed on-stage playing his clarinet. After a couple of minutes Ian's face peeked through the centre curtains with his trademark goofy leer. But on that fateful Fifties Friday, a shout from the audience famously reflected Glasgow's thoughts; "Christ - there's two of them!"
(b) I guess that's it all f~cked then
Thanks, I'm particularly pleased with the waves,
As you will know Robert, the current travel time from Campbeltown to Glasgow is a minimum of five hours , on a good day, often six. If the Rest and be Thankful is closed, you can add another 70 to 100 miles to the journey. However, if you extend the current A 83 and introduce smaller bridge crossings, short road extensions and tunnel connections, ( like an abridged Norwegian Coastal Highway, which involves an investment of £30bn in the country's infrastructure, crossing 20 fjords, some 600 metres deep, for 680 miles, in a country with a comparable population to Scotland) at Tarbert to Portvadie, then Tighnabruaich and Rhubodach to Colintraive onto Invercholain, then Dunoon across to the A78 then to central belt, journey time will be cut by a minimum of three hours and bypass the Rest and be Thankful.
The keynote address ended by calling on the UK, Scottish and Irish Governments to commission a serious feasibility study on both routes, that's where we are at present.